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Vedanta Sandesh
A Free Monthly Newsletter of Vedanta Mission sent by E-mail
With love from Swami Atmananda Saraswati, Founder : Vedanta Mission
Second issue : Aug 1998


‘GREETINGS FOR A JOYOUS JANMASHTAMI’


CONTENTS :

PREFACE :                          Precedent established
REACTIONS :                     Mails from our Readers
VEDANTA SECTION :     The Potential and Limitation of Action
Q & A SECTION :              Cosmology of Hinduism
FESTIVAL SECTION :      Janmashtami - birthday of our beloved Lord
ACTIVITY SECTION :      Guru Poornima and Sravana celebrations at Vedanta Ashram
GENERAL  SECTION :     (a) End of living….    Sent by Gul Malani
                                             (b) Picture of peace.  Sent by Richa Raikwar
______________________________________________________________________________

PREFACE :

A Precedent established :

It is a matter of great joy and encouragement that our maiden effort to bring out Vedanta Sandesh, the monthly Newsletter of Vedanta Mission, which also happens to be the first free Newsletter on Vedanta sent by e-mail, has been received by most of its readers very positively. Not only writing was something new to me but also using this media of Computer & Internet was also a totally new experience. I am happy that the ball has been set rolling, a precedent has been established, now things will be far more easy.

I express my sincere thanks and blessings specially to those who have been instrumental to make this endeavor possible. To begin with I remember Suman Jaitly who motivated his friend Om Hemrajani
(of Tangerine Computers) to donate a PC to me. That had opened a new world for me. Later last year it
was Umesh Ranglani, a smart & lovely young man from Mumbai who is very dear to me, not only because of his ever smiling face, bubbling enthusiasm & his cultured disposition, but most of all for his patient, diligent efforts to reveal to me the intricacies of this complex cyber world. May Mahadev shower his choicest blessings upon all these young men who are but his own beautiful instruments.

I would also like to express my deep appreciation for RS Arora of Mumbai and Purushottam Shah of Ahmedabad, who on their own initiative have distributed the photocopies of the Newsletter to various devotees & friends who do not have the facility of Computer or Internet. It is such people full of sewa-bhava, sraddha and love for the cause of Vedanta who make our work a lot more easier & enjoyable and also make the world all the more beautiful place to live in. May God bless them with good health & long life. Greater than any act is always the spirit behind it. It alone makes anything beautiful or divine. There are many who not only have sraddha for such things but also have various facilities, but to come forward on ones own initiative to share the joy with others does reveal something plus. That plus is a loving heart, concern for others, joy of serving & sharing and on top of it their deep love for the cause. It is people with such spirit, who not only form the core of any spiritual or missionary organization but also become very dear & respectable in their own personal circles. It is action with such a spirit which the scriptures identify as a sattwic act, and which brings forth spontaneous blessings from people like me.

Apart from accolades we have also received some suggestions. In our 'Reactions' section we give some excerpts of some of the mails received along with my response, where required.


Click to visit the Home Page of Vedanta Mission  http://members.tripod.com/~vedantamission/index.html


REACTIONS :
(Below are given some of the reactions received regarding the inaugural issue of Vedanta Sandesh)

Hari om Guruji,
FANTASTIC. AN EXTRAORDINARY ENDEAVOR. Your inaugural issue of VEDANTA SANDESH was the right step towards a learning experience which is going to be an eye-opener. The presentation, command over the english language, contents were top class. But amongst the sections the activities section was not as much fun to read as the others. "Question & answer" section as always was the highlight. But the surprise part was the contents of the "general" section which was hilarious. It added a zest of life to an otherwise serious article. I along with my parents & Neha seek your blessings on the auspicious occasion of "Guru Poornima" (all the more pious after knowing its history). We take this opportunity to THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN.
Your 's, Umesh, Mumbai ________________________________________________________________________
Respected Guruji,
I had received the monthly Newsletter through e-mail, in 13 pages and was very much impressed by the contents as well as the mode of presentation.
The analysis of Jivatma and Paramatma in the 'Vedanta Section' is very clear and convincing. Please continue this section giving more of the knowledge of ATMA, so also was the 'Festival Section' which gives the needed details of the importance of festivals. Many of us have only superficial knowledge of our festivals. 'Activity Section' keeps us in touch with the activities of the Mission. I would request you to include the future plans and programs of the mission as well as dates and place of your satsang programs. The reply to the query of the student from Israel was very lucid and clear so that even a foreign person not conversant with our Sanatan dharma is educated and convinced. The 'General Section' was of course interesting and hope you will add more variety in that section. I have made a few Xerox copies and would be circulating the same in interested persons and friends. I hope the future issues will continue to be all the more educative. - Purushottam Shah, Ahmedabad
________________________________________________________________________
Swamiji, Charan Vandana, Hari Om.
Received your Inaugural newsletter which with Hari's blessings, gave me immense pleasure. Guruji you have been able to achieve a landmark by starting this VEDANTA SANDESH for the benefit of all your disciples. RN Magow, Mumbai
________________________________________________________________________
Poojniya Swamiji,
We were indeed very pleased to read your Vedanta Mission's inaugural newsletter on Guru Poornima. Capt.CL Gupta, Mumbai ________________________________________________________________________
Hari Om Guruji:
I enjoyed reading the VEDANTA SANDESH and looking forward for future newsletters.
Thank You - Anand Sangtani, USA ________________________________________________________________________
Pujya Swamiji,
Thank you for the Newsletter. It was very informative and I am sure we all enjoyed reading it and absorbing the wonderful messages in it. I would like to make a few suggestions if I may. It would make easier reading if you sent us smaller messages and more frequently. There were too many concepts and ideas to absorb and if you don't print it and read it a few times, you may miss out on a lot, maybe some of us don't have that facility. It would also be nice if we could have a separate newsletter for Q's & A's based on the concepts that you teach us in the preceding newsletter. - Bina, Bangalore

( I do agree that articles on Vedanta do require repeated reading and reflection, but to make the Newsletter weekly & smaller doesn't appear to be a very practical proposition for me. I have some time constraints. If taking out a printout is not possible for someone then that person can very well copy the Newsletter on the hard disc and later read at ones own convenience, maybe section a week. SwAtma )


It's amazing what even ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.


VEDANTA SECTION :

The Potential & Limitation of Action :

Action is signature of life :
Action is verily a signature of life. Life manifests most vividly in the form of actions. If the very life principle is said to be the eternal divinity then its manifestation in the form of action is indeed its divine fragrance. To be able to act is indeed a blessing, and anyone who acts in a dynamic, creative way out of the feeling of well being for all becomes a blessing for all those around him, and paves the path for his total fulfillment too. Any philosophy of life which gives due importance to action alone facilitates people to make the best of their lives and vice versa any philosophy which  professes an inactive life becomes responsible for the fall of that person, society or the nation. So act we must. We must in fact learn more about this potent thing called action. We must know the potential and also the limitations of action.

Act to forge ahead, react to be left behind :
First let us try to understand what exactly is an action ? Any movement of our hands or bodies is not an action. A person turning in his bed while sleeping drops a glass and in the process makes a thief to run away is not said to have performed an action, nor does a person reacting to a situation as per his conditionings is performing any action. Action is one thing and reaction is another. Action is a deliberate & conscious effort done with a definite objective in mind. If unconsciously you help someone you have not done any Punya karma, similarly if unintentionally if you harm someone you don't commit any sin. That is ofcourse a different matter that a sensitive person sees to it that even unconsciously he or she does not harm any one. Animals are programmed to respond in a particular way and therefore they do not perform any actions. In action there is freedom to choose our response. I may decide my response on the basis of my past experiences or may try out something entirely new. I may respond or may not respond at all. That's freedom. In action there is freedom. In action there is growth and also evolution. Those who don't know what does action actually means simply stagnate. A person who constantly exercises his or her freedom in & through every situation alone acts. Very few people act, most of us merely react. Those who act alone go ahead, rest are left behind.

The potential of action :
In all actions there has to be a clearly defined goal. Greater the clarity of goal, greater will be our energy directed towards it. But, a total action requires something more, there should also be great sensitivity towards others. A deliberate act which is done with such a sensitivity to others as you would expect others to have toward you is called a Punya karma or virtuous action, while a karma in which in the process of attaining our goals there is total indifference towards others feelings then such an act is called Paap or sin. A person who does punya karma's not only begets love, consideration & respect of others but also facilitates manifestation of his various latent qualities & potentials. This leads to still better karma's and the cyclic effect leads one to still greater prosperity, contentment and betterment of life. On the other hand if a person is too desperate to attain something and in the process resorts to insensitivity & the subsequent Paap karma's then his selfish disposition not only ultimately isolates him but the overloaded mind also cannot bring about its best. Success for such a person is always questionable, and even if success is brought about then also the cost at times is so high and the person inspite of getting what he wants remains a loser. The potential of Punya karma's is great, they can help us attain even the glories & comforts of heavens. So act we must but in a more conscientious way.

The greatest potential of action :
Apart from the above potential there is one more extremely important and great potential of action, which is not so often talked about. That potential pertains to the effect of karma's on our minds rather than its potential in bringing about the desired situation outside. It is the ability of karma to make the mind of a person progressively all the more intelligent, sensitive & strong. The utilization of that potential does not call for any special act, in fact whatever may be the field of action of a person, in & through his or her activities the above objective can also be simultaneously attained. The change is only in the motivation. The usual motivation in any action is in bringing about a desired extraneous situation. We want something and work for it. Our love lies in some object yonder, and action is merely a means to attain that. Our joys manifest on seeing the results and not earlier. In other words we don't enjoy the very act of doing some thing but always look beyond to something which is yet to come. People who are more bothered about the 'fruits' of action, the very act of doing something is more often a burden, and is left at the earliest oppurtunity. The very act is never be a matter of great love or joy. If however for a person the very act of doing something becomes a matter of great challenge, love & joy, if somehow the focus is shifted from the fruits of action which always lies in future, to the 'very act' being done in the present, then with such a changed perspective & priority not only the fruits of action will certainly be far better, but at the same time with this intense living in the present the mind starts unfolding its various latent qualities and the person is seen to become all the more efficient, intelligent, sensitive and strong. Do have goals for the future but not at the cost of potential joys at present. Such an act is possible only by people who have an intrinsic sense of well-being, fulfillment & contentment within themselves. It is such people alone who can afford to act in such a way. They may have great faith in God - the dispenser of all fruits of actions, or their philosophy of life may convince them of their basic divinity. Whatever be the case if they can afford to act with the above motivation then they open the floodgates of their higher growth & evolution. Such a karma where having once discerned the goal, the entire attention & love is in the very act of doing the karma, and in & through his actions is amazed at the beauty & order of things around becoming in his heart a fan, rather a devotee of one who runs the entire show, is called as the Nishkama karma. Every act of this person is an act of love, in every concieveable way. These people enjoy their very work and are never bother about retirement, the day when they will probably be free of all this hassle. A person who inculcates such an attitude in & through all his or her actions is called as a Karma Yogi. Lord Krishna never feels tired to glorify such an act or such a person. Such an act is ones doorway to total freedom. Not only doorway to freedom, it verily is an act of freedom.

The limitations of action :
As the saying goes there are always two sides of any coin. Even though karma's can take us to the mind boggling heights of heavenly pleasures, they can help bring about beautiful virtues in the mind, they can bring about great purity of mind in the form of detachment, contemplativeness & sensitivity, yet karma's have some limitations. The greatest limitation of action is that any thing attained through any of our acts is always transient, it is in the realm of change and thus perishable. No fruits of actions are permanent, no situation is permanent. All what we attain through karma's quickly becomes an object of our memories. Karma is not a means to help attain any thing permanent. If at any point in time we aspire for something permanent then this great & potent thing called karma stands helpless. Luckily that which is permanent should by its very definition be present at all times and places, and therefore has to be present right here & now. Such a thing which is already attained needs no karma but merely some deeper awareness, knowledge. Basically karma's have a role to play whenever we want to produce, modify, purify or attain something. If this is the goal then karma alone has to be the means, there is no other way, but in cases where there is no production, modification, purification or attainment involved then karma's have no role to play. A person who wants to know his Self or wants to know the truth of things around, then karma's have no role to play. The basic essence of everyone, the Atma is declared by the great Rishis of Upanishads as ever-pure, ever-attained and free from the possibility or necessity of any modification. It is that which is permanent, divine and also embodiment of joy. Atma is something to be known and not attained, for the simple reason that it is our very Self. If we want to know the Self, then we should not only keep aside all karma's but for a time being even quieten the habitual tendency to act. At such a moment this habit to act becomes a positive nuisance.

The plan of action :
The plan of action thus suggested by scriptures is to first learn to act - deliberately, consciously & later in a Nishkama way, selflessly, lovingly. Having fulfilled our various desires & responsibilities and having brought about the necessary purity of mind, turn your attention to that which is permanent. When such a goal becomes dear then don't let even this tendency to act turn your attention to any thing extraneous. Such people should go to their Sat-guru - men of knowledge pertaining to such things, and try to know that which is here & now. Know your Self, that which you always are and always was. Having known your true, divine Self directly, let your fulfillment manifests at all the levels of your personality. Such people have nothing to attain for themselves, their account has been settled, they live to serve. Such people act yet they don't. Let people call their acts in what ever way they like, they live spontaneously, exuding the divine fragrance of divinity & love all around them without any barriers of caste, creed, sex, nationality or even religions. They truly become a world citizen.


You may send your questions, reactions or inspiring articles or stories to us


QUESTION & ANSWER SECTION :

Cosmology of Hinduism :
Namaste Swamiji !
Happy Guru Poornima.
I read your Newsletter & found it very interesting. I need your advice.
I am visiting New York & a friend of mine with whom I will be staying has requested for some information on Religion which as you know I have been spouting after attending your Gyana sessions.
The topics are :
1. Cosmology of Hinduism & its interpretation of the world & universe at large.
2. Connection, origin, parallel between Christianity & Hinduism.
I would greatly appreciate if you could shed some light or inform me what books I should research.
Your devoted disciple,
Mala Bangera

Poojya Guruji replies :

Dear Mala,
Hari om ! Hari om !
It was a pleasant surprise to receive your kind mail. Thanks. I am happy you liked our Newsletter - Vedanta Sandesh. It is also nice to know that you are leaving for New York for a holiday and have some questions on religious topics from your friend there. It indeed gives me great pleasure to know that you have been trying to enlighten people about such things. Looking at the beauty of facts and the profound ignorance about the tenets of our religion & its philosophy, such effort is indeed commendable.
Your first question pertained to the cosmology of Hinduism, the answer is as follows :
- One of the unique things about our religion is that here the nature of upadesh depends on the level of student. It thus varies. All upadesh are right in as much as they are helpful for that person standing at that level, but if we say that this alone is ultimate then that is not right. This is one of the reasons why we insist that such things should always be studied through a teacher. A teacher can see the level of student, then decide on the line of action to be taken. A philosophy which professes & reveals adwaita, the non-dual reality says that ultimately there is only one reality & nothing else. Which means, hold your breath, that creation is not really there, or rather lets say it has no independent existence. All theories of creation are therefore a compromise from that ultimate level. But we hasten slowly and do not spout about this fact to any tom, dick or harry, because for the simple reason that it is beyond the comprehension of an uninitiated person and thus such upadesh will not help that person. We are more bothered about lifting a person rather than loading them with some facts, figures or information. Initially for a person who does not have that grounding or initiation we do talk about creation because the fellow sees it, believes it and is convinced that it is very much there. So we also have our own cosmology for such people and I tell you
it is pretty good. The basic tenets of our view is as follows :-
- Brahman when he wields his Maya shakti is called Ishwar. It is this Ishwar who creates, sustains and destroys the world. Ishwar creates the world out of himself (very much like a spider which creates its web out of itself), he is both the material cause and also the intelligent cause of the creation. (Potter is the intelligent cause and mud is the material cause in the creation of a pot). In worldly creations the material cause & the intelligent cause are generally different.
- The first thing which Ishwar creates is the cosmic mind and cosmic energy (called samashti mana & prana). In this cosmic mind comes about a general enthusiasm & desire for creation. This desire then crystallizes into a definite plan for the exact type of creation which will be most suitable for the jiwas
to get their desired fields of experiences. Once the plan of action is defined then Ishwar is called the Hirayagarbha, literally translated it means one with a golden womb. The Puranas call him alone as the
Four headed Brahmaji, the creator, who has come out of the navel of Ishwar.
- Like an Artist who before creating anything clearly sees the entire creation in his mind and later simply unfolds what he sees within himself, so also the whole cosmos starts unfolding out of Hirayagarbha just as a tree comes out of a seed. First come the five basic elements (called Panch Mahabhutas) in sequence, first the Akasa, then Vayu, then Agni, Jal and finally the Prithvi. These are the names of basic elements, and not the earth etc. as we see today. They are initially subtle or not perceptible (called sukshma). Out of these subtle mahabhutas comes out the subtle bodies (comprising minds etc.) of all the jiwas. Later there is a process called Panchikarana in which a part of subtle Mahabhutas undergo a process of grossification, after which they become perceptible. Out of these gross elements are created all the gross bodies and this perceptible world with all its multiplicity. Having created the bodies the creator himself enters into all the bodies and enlivens the whole thing. As creator is the very life principle so the moment he enters the created bodies they all become a living being.
- The jiwas get appropriate bodies and field of experiences as per their karma's. In case some people do not get an ideal situations we do not attribute this to the creator, but to the past karma's of that individual. We believe that God has given the freedom to every jiwa to make his/her own destiny. God is one who not only gives to each individual the capacity to desire but also situations & finally the results of our actions to fulfill these desires.
- The bottom line of the entire theory of creation is that firstly, as God is both the material & intelligent cause of the creation he pervades every thing (like mud pervades all pots), he is in fact every thing. As he himself has entered into everyone the basic essence of everything & everyone is that divinity. Secondly, as far as situations are concerned it is in the hands of jiwas to change or create any situation. God helps us to bring about any situation without interfering, till we want his help.
Regarding the second question :
- There is no connection between Hinduism and Christianity. The former is more than 10,000 years old, while the latter is less than 2000 years old. Christianity had its origin with the advent of Jesus Christ while Hinduism originated with Vedas, ages back. Regarding parallel between two, I see Christianity just as another sect professing a way for Ishwar-upasana, (bringing about devotion for Lord). It however, stops at this upasana only, while Hinduism goes still further to reveal identity between Jiwa & Ishwar, lifting the individual to a state of Godhood.
Hope your both the questions are answered. If at all you need further clarification please feel free to write back. With lots of love to all of you,
SwAtma



SHARE YOUR MOMENTS OF JOY & ALSO HELP A CAUSE OF EDUCATION :
Share & spread your moments of joy by taking care of one full day's expenses of food for the inmates (Swamis & students) of Vedanta Ashram, a free, charitable Hindu seminary. You may send a DD of
Rs 500/- (for ordinary Bkiksha), or Rs 1000/- (for special feast) on any of your special personal occasions like birthdays, marriage anniversaries, death anniversaries etc. of your near & dear ones, along with the details, like the name of person, the nature of occasion and the date on which the bhiksha is to be offered. We will take care of the feast on your behalf and send you its details. This way you not only share your joys with mahatmas and get their blessings, but also help a very important cause of spreading the knowledge of love & joy, which is indeed the true religion. Take these people who have devoted their whole life for the cause of religion as your very own.
The DD should be in favor of  'VEDANTA PARMARTHIC SEWA TRUST, INDORE.'
Managing Trustee, VPS Trust, Indore


FESTIVAL SECTION :

Janmashtami :

Birthday of our beloved Lord :
The 8th day (Ashtami) in the dark fortnight (Krishna paksha) of the month of Badrapada is the day when about more than five thousand years back Lord Krishna was born. This year this tithi corresponds to the date of 14th Aug. As Lord took janma on this particular ashtami, therefore this is traditionally called as the Janma-ashtami. It is the birthday of our beloved Lord. A day of great celebrations, remembering of his love & message, and also expression of our deepest gratitude to that great manifestation of the divinity who was indeed an embodiment of fun, frolic, fearlessness and holistic knowledge. The one who gave the upadesh of the Song Divine - the Bhagwad Gita. Not only upadesh but his life also was a living example of his own teachings. He was an ideal teacher, speaking out what he really lived.
Embodiment of perfection :
The entire life and personality of Lord Krishna was both very intense and relaxed at the same time. It was intense because he 'lived' every moment fully - creatively, dynamically and intelligently, never dull or mechanical. He was relaxed because he was never bothered about himself, there was always a fragrance of total fulfillment in him. He was very firm in his resolves yet had a soft heart and was very accommodating too. He always seemed to know where & when to draw the line. He held aloft the torch of righteousness above all petty or personal considerations, and took in his hands the reins of the chariot of dharma through the deadly combat of confusing values & delirious delusions to everlasting victory. He lived a gracious life of spectacular daring with joyous ease and a loving heart. He escaped no problems, avoided no pains, never shied away from any inconvenient situation. In and through all his activities there was always a touch of grace, a shine of perfection and a liberal dose of personal dynamism. Every moment with him was a memorable one, everyone missed him whenever he was not around. He made every moment for everyone very livable & lovable. Only the crooked ones feared him, because he was too sharp, fearless & righteous for them to have their own wicked ways.
Why did the wicked fear him ?
Lord Krishna professed about & even lived the principle of ahimsa - non-violence, but strangely enough his definition of ahimsa did not mean not wielding or using a weapon, but was a deep rooted & basic desire for the well-being of all, and never, even in his wildest of dreams, doing anything sadistically. If some ignorant people took to an unrighteous path, then he was very firm, he never compromised on the question of righteousness, dharma. He certainly seemed to be of the opinion that even capital punishment should be resorted to when it came to upholding righteousness. That is why wicked always feared him. In his opinion head should always preside over ones heart. No feelings, however personal or intimate were reason enough to dominate over ones fundamental convictions. One should go to any extent to be true to ones convictions, provided the convictions are based on facts and not personal conveniences & fancies. Dharma in his opinion was a way of life based on facts, so it was never available for compromise. Even though one should be very accommodative to a person who is trying to understand the truth of life, but there is no place for multiplicity of dharmas. Truth is one, the world is one, the laws of nature are common to all, so the right way of living also has to be one. The whole thing boils down to the question as to 'what is real dharma?' The process of understanding & teaching the real dharma was very important to him, this is evident from his famous upadesh to Arjuna on the battlefront.  The crux of the matter in Bhagwad Gita is revealing those fundamental facts of life, knowing which we can be clear of the right way of life to be lead. Communicating this always has to be a very patient work, and can only be undertaken in an atmosphere of total freedom of speech & thought. So when it came to freedom of speech then he was always for it, but when it came to resorting to a way of life incompatible with the whole, then he was very, very uncompromising. Why should the whole society pay the price for the lack of understanding of facts of life in some people ?
Living in tune with the whole :
We all have to live together in one world, so everyone should live in a way which is compatible with the whole, which doesn't disturb the basic harmony of the world & the society in which we live. One should not foolishly & arrogantly try to even think of conquering nature and things like that, but should see it as our very mother, learn to know its ways and fall in line with its tune. Krishna always seemed to be in tune with the basic harmony of the creation. He was an artist at heart. Fond of music & dance he let his joy exude out and also brought out the best in everyone. There appeared to be a very lovable vulnerability & innocence in him. He loved all, and all loved him, yet he was attached to none. He was the center of attraction everywhere. Friends or foes all had a great respect for him, all could approach him, feel at home with him and even discuss personal things with him. Everyone seemed to have full confidence in him. He was an ideal choice of a diplomat when it came to sorting out very fundamental matters amongst the great kings of that time. His strength, his joy, his motivation, his fearlessness all came from within himself, never from anything extraneous. He never hanged on to anything or anyone. He appeared to be like a full blossomed lotus in water, reveling in its own glory, beautiful yet untouched. He appeared to live in the majesty of his own true nature. Life indeed appeared to be a sport for him. His life once again provided great relevance & meaning to the scriptural declarations of  'Know thy Self.'
Make him the charioteer of your life :
An ideal friend, philosopher & guide his was a personality worth emulating, and life worth glorifying. It is a very well known fact that as you think so you become, so anyone who wants to live a full life should fall in love with this blue-boy of Vrindavan. Sing his glories, try to understand his mind through his teachings. Love him as your own master. Visit all places directly or indirectly associated with him, and celebrate his birthday as the birthday of your extremely beloved one. Be sure that you use this day as one to pay your heartfelt respects & obeisance's to him, as he was born at the mid-night hour, so preferably fast till that time devoting all the time at your disposal to remember him and singing his glories, later celebrate his birth with the grace & dignity he deserves. Let us all make this day as the one to be re-charged up with all what he represented & embodied.


Badri-Kedar Yatra
Devotees who are accompanying Poojya Guruji to Badri & Kedar, will meet at the Ludhiana Dharamsala at Hardwar on the 21st or 22nd Aug. The party will start their pilgrimage on the morning of 23rd and should be back by 29th or 30th Aug. Return reservations should be got  done before hand on the 31st Aug. For more details contact VM officials or write to us.
Hari om


ACTIVITIES SECTION :

1. Guru Poornima celebrations :
In Indore Guru Poornima was celebrated at the Vedanta Ashram with devotion, solemnity & grace. Devotees thronged the Ashram right from morning onwards till late night to pay their obeisance's to Pooya Guruji and other Mahatmas at the Ashram. The Ashram was being decorated from night onwards, with flowers & garlands. In the morning there was first the Puja of Bhagwan Sri Adi Sankaracharyaji, whose beautiful statue is installed in the Satsang Hall of the Ashram. Then there was puja of the padukas of Poojya Swami Chinmayanandaji, which were given by his own hands to Poojya Guruji. Later there was pada-puja of Poojya Guruji. The puja was performed by Sh.Mohan Lala & Smt.Chandra Lala on behalf of the assembled devotees. Poojya Guruji briefly spoke about the occasion and gave his blessings to all. Later Poojya Guruji gave mantra deeksha to few devotees. Everyone partook the lovingly prepared prasad together in the presence of Poojya Guruji. Bhiksha that day was offered by Sh & Smt Jagdeesh Raikwar.

In Mumbai Guru Poornima celebration was organized at the residence of  Sh.Avinash & Ritu Dutta. The devotees conducted puja, did bhajans and thus expressed their obeisance towards Poojya Guruji and other masters who have been instrumental to impart the spiritual knowledge to them. All of them were highly touched by the loving arrangements and ambiance. Sh RS Arora distributed copies the photocopies of the inaugural copies of Vedanta Sandesh, to all those present there.

2. Sravana month celebrations :
The month of sravana is a very beautiful one. The first rainfall suddenly transforms the whole world, the
scorching heat gives way to a very pleasant climate, children playing on the swings, birds once again become very vocal and the greenery suddenly manifests all over covering the mountains & fields. Everything as though smiles once again. Due to the advent of monsoons people rarely go out, it is an ideal time for some special prayers and thanksgiving. This month is generally devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva. As the presiding deity of Vedanta Ashram is Lord Shiva, in the form of Gangeshwar Mahadev, so every Monday in the month of sravana the students & devotees prepare nice jhankis of Lord Shiva and have special programs & bhajans on the occasion. On the first Monday there was the advent of Lord Amarnath - the ice-linga inside a cave. In the second week it was Lord Jatashankar. From his jata was flowing a small stream of real water, the Ganges, while on the third monday there was Sundereshwar Mahadev, the beautiful one. It was a very lovely sight and very nicely prepared by Hemant Kaushik.

3. Monthly Bhajan program in Indore :
From Guru Poornima day monthly Bhajan program started in Indore. The first session was held in the Ashram and the second also will be organized in the Ashram on the Janmashtami day. Thereafter on the afternoon of every third Saturday devotees have resolved to gather at any pre-determined place and have a bhajan session for about one & half hours. Smt Sushila Garg will manage this monthly bhajan program.


Our best wishes & blessings to the following for offering Bhiksha to the Ashramites :
1. Jagdeesh Singh Raikwar - 9th July (Guru Poornima)
2. Ratna Bagai - 14th July (Birthday of son Arun)
3. Nandlal Sachdev - 17th July (Death anniversary of his mother Sushila Sachdev)


GENERAL SECTION :

(a) End of Living....    Sent by Gul Malani
( In 1851, the Suquamish and other ‘Indian’ tribes of Puget Sound in the Pacific state of Washington
were ‘persuaded’ to sell their two-million-acres ancestral land to the US Govt. for a paltry $150,000.
Responding with exemplary dignity to this tragic situation, Chief Seattle, the chief of the Suquarmish, delivered what is regarded as one of the most beautiful & moving environmentalist statements ever made. Below is reproduced excerpts from Chief Seattle’s speech.)

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land ? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the
freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them ? Every part of the earth is sacred to my people… The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the mountains, the body-heat of the pony, and man - all belong to the same family. So when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us. This land is sacred to us.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors… We know that white man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother but his enemy, and when he has conquered, he moves on. He leaves his fathers grave behind and does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children, and does not care. His fathers grave, and his children's birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert...

The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath - the beasts, the tree, the man. The White man does not seem to notice to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench. But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow's flowers.  So we will consider your offer to buy our land.

If we decide to accept, I will make one condition : The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers. I am a savage and do not understand any other way. I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train…What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to the man. All things are connected…If men spit on the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know : The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself...

The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man. That destiny is mystery to us, for we do not understand a future when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild beasts are tamed, the secret corners of the forests heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket ? Gone. Where is the eagle ? Gone. The end of living and the beginning of survival.
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(b) Picture of peace....    Sent by Richa Raikwar

There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace.  Many artists tried.  The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock.  In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest ........... perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize?  The King chose the second picture.
Do you know why?
"Because,"  explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.  That is the real meaning of peace."


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